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vehicle of interest. that word vehicle perhaps indicating that the incident may have been a drive-by shooting. we'll bring you more information as we learn more. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again monday night. weekends with alex witt starts now. gearing up. the top of the ticket getting ready for the nextdy bait today. and there's more fallout from the vice presidential debate today. live reports ahead. early voting. could new numbers in today from key swing states tell us anything about what might happen november 6th? we're going to talk to an expert in the field. sharks in florida, and football at ohio state. they might be the key to this year's presidential election. there are facts to back this up. office politics. morning joe style. a prediction on how this election might turn out.
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good morning, everyone and welcome to "weekends with alex witt." new this morning, former president bill clinton will join rock star bruce springsteen at a campaign rally in ohio. the duo will appear in parma, ohio, on thursday, focusing on the economy and middle class. meanwhile, the second presidential debate is tuesday. president obama begins preparing today in virginia. in his weekly address this morning, the president focuses on jobs and the u.s. auto industry comeback. >> we refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. we refused to let detroit go bankrupt. i bet on american workers, and american ingenuity and three years later that bet is paying off in a big way. >> police in colorado are investigating a shooting at president obama's denver campaign office. and officials say the people were inside when a shot was fired through the office window friday afternoon. fortunately no one was hurt. mitt romney and paul ryan are spending a second straight day in ohio after rallying voters in lancaster friday. >> it's good to be back.
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and this is our -- this is our comeback team here. and this is our comeback team here in ohio. and we're going to bring back america. >> now, governor romney will be making stops today in portsmouth and lebanon. congressman ryan will visit youngstown. president obama and vice president biden have no scheduled public events today. joining me now for more front page politics white house correspondent for the hill, amy barnes and white house reporter for "the washington post," david nakamura. you guys are becoming a great habit good morning. aim i'll begin with you. we've had about 36 hours or so to digest the vice presidential debate. is there any consensus on whether it might move the needle in the presidential election? >> it didn't really change the trajectory so much. but i think it did stop the bleeding. i kept hearing from democrats all week. they were frustrated how the race was going since the last presidential debate. they were complaining. some people called chicago to complain. so i think what it did was it raised the spirits, it helped boost morale a little bit for the democrats.
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>> speaking of raising spirits, david, interestingly you write about the white house defending joe biden's smiling during parts of the debate. give me the conventional wisdom on this. did any of that take away from the impact of his performance? >> i think it depends on who you ask. i think republicans are really making an issue of it. and i think some democrats probably felt it was a little bit over the top the way the vice president continued to laugh and smile throughout. especially the first half of the debate. but i think as amie said one of the things they were trying to do, the obama campaign and vice president biden and probably think they did do is insmier supporters, their base, in a way that showed that the vice president came out with a lot of energy and the kind of aggression that the president did not. and the white house spokesman jay carney did say yesterday this just shows his passion, his joy for the job and also some incredulity about what paul ryan was saying. >> and david, you write that the president is heading to virginia today to debate camp really for three days. you wrote a three days ago that he vows to be more aggressive. do you have any sense of what
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his takeaways might be from the vice presidential debate? >> absolutely. i think you saw what vice president biden was trying to do which is really hold the republican ticket accountable for some of their ideas on their tax cut plan. things the president did not do against governor romney. you'll see after, coming out next tuesday, you know, whether the president's taken this to heart. i think you've got two strategies. one is to counter all the things that the obama campaign thinks were lies, you know, coming out of romney. and also to sort of lay out a road map of what the president has done, and what he intends to do in a second term. >> aimee, as the president does study for tuesday, are there any clear openings that paul ryan left for him to exploit when he faces mitt romney? >> i think what you're going to see is he's going to ask for specifics on tuesday night. he's going to push him on the tax plan. he's also going to push the famous 47% line. you know, democrats really were upset that he didn't use that line of attack before. vice president biden sort of opened the door for him to do
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that on tuesday. i think you're going to see more a more aggressive obama take that stance a little more. >> but the fact that the president didn't go after him during the debate on the 47% and the fact that mitt romney first thing out of the gate, the next morning, was was saying it was a mistake, that was wrong of me to say that, is that going to blunt the effectiveness of the president using that? >> i don't think so. they've been attacking him. they've been saying this is a choice. he doesn't speak for the middle class. their side does. so i think that you're going to continue to see that line of attack from them. >> okay. david. what about the libya attack question? i mean, how is the administration been approaching its response now? because it appears the romney camp is really ratcheting up its offensive on that. >> absolutely. not just the romney camp yesterday jay carney's white house briefing he got about, seven, eight, nine questions on this. really got pressed on this. joe biden during the debate, you know, sort of said something about the libya situation, that sort of made it more difficult
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for the white house. which is that, you know, the white house didn't know that they wanted more security. even though there had been a public hearing with the state department that, you know, the ben gas zpi conflict did need more security and the white house is really having trouble there saying that, you know, they didn't have all the intelligence early on and things have changed and since then they've given a broader accounting of it. i think you're going to see the -- a romney ticket really continue to press this issue. >> yeah. i want to ask you guys about the format coming up. we have town hall style versus standing behind podiums or sitting around a table, as they did the other night. who do you think that will benefit more? is there history to suggest one or the other, david? >> i don't know, you know, that the president is particularly great in this format. i think he, you know, i think he's going to try to show that he has compassion for people. but i think the other side is, as well. the question is whether the president's going to be able to get off some of the attack lines that he wants to do against romney, in this kind of forum when he's talking directly to voters who are going to be
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asking the questions in the audience. >> i'm curious, amie, the way that mitt romney, when you have on that split screen and he was always looking at the president. i mean he was looking at him the whole time, the president looking down. the town hall style meeting has to be different. do you think he'll take that as if he's attacking, studying the president or is it more of reaching out to the audience of people and connecting with the voters? >> i think it's more about the what you just said, alex, the latter. i think president obama, i'll disagree with david a little bit on this one. i think president obama, he has his likability going for him. he connects with a crowd. he moves around a little better than governor romney does. i think it's going to be a good night for him on tuesday night. >> okay. always a good morning to both of you. amie, david, thank you so much. >> thanks. >> later on the path to 270 electoral votes. we're going to look at several scenarios for how the candidates could get to that critical number. plus one scenario that could take the outcome out of the hands of voters. that's coming up at the bottom of the hour. meantime the u.s. is investigating a new threat from iran. officials are warning about the
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dangerous consequences of an attack in cyberspace. the pentagon says hackers in iran are targeting banking websites in the u.s., and also attacked an oil company site in saudi arabia. defense secretary leon panetta is warning that a future cyber attack by iran could be catastrophic. >> the collective result of these kinds of attacks could be a cyber pearl harbor. an attack that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life. an attack that would paralyze and shock the nation. >> panetta says the u.s. needs to act quickly to be prepared for future cyber attacks. well, this morning, the fbi is trying to track down a large amount of money stolen from an airplane that landed at philadelphia international airport. the aircraft came from dallas, but it wasn't until the cargo reached the federal reserve that officials realized that a lot of the funds were missing. the fbi says the stolen money
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was brand-new, $100 bills. they were not scheduled to be put into circulation until next year. certainly have a new look with them there. let's go now to your weekend weather. expect some brilliant sunshine here in new york city. which seems to contrast to this harbinger of winter. that's the 30 rock ice rink. it opened officially for the season just moments ago, everyone. i'd like to be out there but i'm going to stay here for awhile. weather channel meteorologist maria larosa is joining us with the forecast. >> alex, good morning. we had a major storm system beginning to wrap up in through the central plains. you can see with the clouds and the showers and thunderstorms already beginning to develop. this is the area that will likely see severe weather throughout the day. and unfortunately, it does mean the potential for a few tornadoes. as the area of low pressure develops it's going to drag through a cold front and it's right in that area between the cold front and the warm front, western missouri, into oklahoma, into texas that we have the highest risk for those strong thunderstorms. the gusty winds, heavy rain, and
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isolated tornadoes. notice on the northern side, too, from madison to minneapolis, it's warm enough for rain. in fact we could see a few thunderstorms there, as well. just not going to be a cold system. as it continues to push off to the east, notice that area in yellow, that's the area highlighted for the potential risk of stronger thunderstorms tomorrow. so from the ohio valley, including cincinnati, down into memphis, there, too, a smaller risk of isolated tornadoes, but not zero. so we're going to keep a close eye on that. the rest of sunday's weather, still nice afternoon from the northeast to the southeast. temperatures there getting a little bit of a rebound after some chilly starts. and notice the west, too, the pacific northwest. places like seattle getting pretty active with more rain expected there, even on into monday and notice temperatures stake ago rebound, as well in the southwest, back up into the 90s for phoenix. alex, back to you. >> thank you so much. well, shark attacks and college football. how the two can affect the outcome of the presidential election. plus, this -- >> hi, guys, we're doing office
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politics. finally. what the hell! >> your schedule -- >> you ask everybody else to do this but us? >> oh, oh, don't even go there. >> yeah. >> standing outside your office. >> how long are we going to deal with this nonsense? >> hey, hey! >> are you guys going to come to us? >> it's all you. >> it's absolutely your schedule which is insane. >> morning joe on office politics. you're going to hear what joe has to say about president obama and his second debate with governor mitt romney. it may surprise you. here on weekends with alex witt. i gave birth to my daughter on may 18th, five days later, i had a massive heart attack. bayer aspirin was the first thing the emts gave me. now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story. [ dog barking ] ♪
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the numbers are in from the vice presidential debate. about 51 million people watched vice president joe biden and
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republican congressman paul ryan go at it thursday night. while it was one of the better watched debates, it still couldn't hold a candle to 2008. more than 73 million watched mr. biden and alaska governor sarah palin, making it the most-watched vice presidential debate in u.s. history. now, we have two reports. first on the president's agenda for today. nbc's mike viqueira is joining me live from the white house. >> hello, alex. >> let's get what the president's doing today. studying, i believe. >> yeah, training camp, debate camp, call it what you will. you remember he went for three days before that first debate to nevada. of course a swing state. he goes to another swing state. but a little bit closer to home to train for another three days to practice to go over the issues, the answers, the zingers, perhaps, at least to be more aggressive. that's what the white house is promising. he's going to be very local here in williamsburg, virginia. perhaps about a two-hour drive. although the president, of course, is going to be flying down there. he's there for three days. he's going to be ensconced behind closed doors. no public events on the president's schedule before he goes to hoff extra university on
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new york's long island for the debate tuesday night. we've heard the president himself say perhaps he was a little bit too polite in that first debate when the consensus has congealed around the idea that he really got thumped. joe biden as you were discussing earlier picked up a little of the slack. gave the base the red meat they were looking for. and the white house is certainly intimating that the president is going to be more aggressive. but joe biden is joe biden and president obama is president obama. two different types of personalities. two different approaches, two different rhetorical styles. let's see if the base is as happy with president obama on wednesday morning as they were with joe biden yesterday morning. >> yeah. mike, can you tell us a little more about this new obama campaign tv ad? >> well, i think this is a case of going back to the formula that had helped build that lead in the polls prior to that first debate. you know, the so-called likability gap. the idea that mitt romney is out of touch with the average american. going back to this issue of his taxes not only has he not released his tax returns, as many presidential candidates have in the past, of course, but
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he's effectively paid a 14% rate on his taxes, and that is something that is a lower rate paid on investment income. let's have a listen to a little bit of that ad. >> you've paid 14% in federal taxes. that's the capital gains rate. is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did? so you think it is fair? >> yeah, i think it's -- it's the right way you encourage economic growth. >> lower tax rates for him than us. is that the way to grow america? >> and so it goes, alex. the president leaving the white house just a little later this morning. >> mike viqueira, thank you very much. while the gop ticket is crisscrossing the crucial battleground state of ohio again today and mitt romney will be holding two events. one in portsmouth, another in lebanon. in hours paul ryan holds his rally in youngstown. that is where we find nbc's ron mott live at youngstown state university. we know that the campaign is making a very strong push for ohio.
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>> yeah. hey there, alex. good saturday morning to you, as well. we're back in ohio, which has really become a home away from home for the romney and the obama campaigns. that's how important ohio is in this election with 23 days to go to the election on november 6th. now, governor romney and paul ryan reunited on the trail last night in ran coster, ohio. big crowd down there, alex, last night. about 8500 according to the campaign. very enthusiastic, very energetic. there is a lot of work to be made up here for this romney campaign. polls show that the governor still trails the president but he has cut into that lead by about half over the last couple of weeks. and we can also tell you that both paul ryan and mitt romney were on the record yesterday about this situation down in libya, and what vice president joe biden said in thursday night's debate. the republicans believe they caught him contradicting the state department. listen to what these two republicans had to say on the trail yesterday. >> the vice president directly contradicted the sworn testimony of state department officials. he's doubling down on denial.
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>> this is not what leadership looks like. we need clarity, not confusion. we need accountability, and no more excuses. now ohio may ultimately be the state that turns this election one way or another. as we mentioned earlier the president still holding a lead here. obviously the auto bailout a big factor alex. about one in eight jobs are related to the auto industry. the president approved that bailout of general motors and chrysler. governor romney favored a managed bankruptcy. we'll have to see if he can make up the ground with 23 days to go. as you mentioned crisscross the state today. paul ryan will head up to minnesota and back to janesville, wisconsin tonight. a little rest for the weary, alex. >> it's kind of interesting to me that we have the president off the campaign trail. he is prepping, prepping, prepping. down in virginia. and that you have mitt romney out there among the crowds, campaigning, campaigning. do you think that they feel like they've got this debate thing
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down? they know what they're doing? >> well you could tell yesterday, being with the paul ryan staff, that there's just a little more confidence in the air. they were very pumped up about how well he did in that debate thursday night. of course the president admitted that he had a bad night in that first debate. so the republicans filled up 2-0 in these first two debates so there is a lot of confidence going in to that debate on tuesday. but, as they say, ohio's very important to this campaign in particular. that's why they're doing so much work here. >> ron mott, many thanks. so, will you base your vote on the economy or social issues, or, in fact, something altogether different? please talk to me on twitter. my handle is @alexwitt and i'll get to some of your tweets throughout the day. forget november 6th. you might be shocked to find out how many people have already voted. does that fact favor president obama or mitt romney? we're going to speak to the leading expert on early voting ahead. but first, the retired space shuttle endeavor and its final road trip through the streets of los angeles. the journey to the california science center started early
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friday. a tricky part of the voyage will be later today when the shuttle travels down a narrow residential street with apartment buildings on both sides. imagine that. residents have been told, stay indoors, please, until the shuttle passes. "endeavour" is expected to reach the museum sometime this evening. jack, you're a little boring. boring. boring. [ jack ] after lauren broke up with me, i went to the citi private pass page and decided to be...not boring. that's how i met marilyn... giada... really good. yes! [ jack ] ...and alicia. ♪ this girl is on fire
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it's clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. a lot of things going on in my life and the last thing i want to be thinking about is my dentures. [ charlie ] try zinc free super poligrip. big money headlines. stronger sales? a slow go. and excuses, excuses. joining me now, retail and economic analyst. no excuses with you, ever. >> ever. >> come with the good. here we go with consumer confidence. it has jumped now unexpectedly this month to the highest level it has been since before the recession. in about like five years. what is behind this? >> since september of 2007, it went up to 83.1.
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and basically what's happening is that the consumer, stock prices are going up. they're feeling better about the prices of their home. also foreclosures are down and unemployment is coming down. remember it came down, so that's really having a psychological impact on the consumer. >> will it last? >> here's the thing. there's another index that came out which actually projects how the consumer is feeling six months from now. that went up to 78.1%. and that's been the highest since july of 2007. so, that's the number to really look at. the consumer's feeling better about that. that number is higher, so, yes, the consumer, economists are saying that the consumer's going to feel better. >> okay. but if you take those numbers, why is it that businesses aren't just jumping on it and saying okay, we're going to go with this and hire? >> i have two words for you and that's the fiscal cliff. really a report came out by the manufacturer's alliance for productivity and innovation. and they said that, really, businesses are worried about this fiscal cliff that's about to happen. or may or may not happen. and basically what that means,
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fiscal life is the term that ben bernanke came up with. congress and washington doesn't get the deficit situation taken care of, these tax limitations are coming in, spending cuts are going to happen and that is what businesses are really afraid of. >> one of our headlines, excuses, excuses. i love that because one study says that a third of americans play hooky from work. >> yeah, a third. can you believe that? what is really interesting, too, is what their excuses are. some of the ones that i thought were some of my favorite. one man said that he forgot that he had -- he got hired for the job. >> what? >> yes. another woman said that her grandmother was being exhumed for an investigation. and therefore can't come in to work. her grandmother, someone part of the manson family that was under investigation now? yeah, so, that -- so there's that. and also, people still look at -- employers also investigate whether or not you're coming into work or not. that's something you have to be worried about, too.
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>> wow. okay, that's pretty good. thank you very much hitha prabhakar. i'm never using either of those now. >> no. >> in this morning's one-minute playback, governor mitt romney goes gangnam style. it's made by a company based in taiwan. take a look. ♪ ♪ closed factories and made the money rain ♪ ♪ for the 1% like me i know you feel the pain ♪ ♪ but please don't look at me if you want to complain ♪ ♪ blame the government come join us ♪ ♪ let's build it hey ♪ ♪ together ♪ hey ♪ you're on the roof you're on the roof ♪ ♪ forgot to tell you fire bad!
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." the latest election polls are in for the three key states of florida, ohio and virginia. and while mitt romney has a slight lead in two of the three now, his path to 270 is tougher than president obama's. meanwhile, president obama may not necessarily need to get those states for the 270 electoral votes. joining me to break down the likely scenarios is nbc news deputy political editor domenico montanaro. i'm so glad you're here. you're the man to do this. >> good morning, alex. >> president obama victory. the first one you call going big. explain this one. >> well, if you look at president obama, and the scope being strategy there are three states we've all been watching, florida, ohio, virginia, which we've been calling in sort of a friendly way, flova so we can all remember them. if obama wins two of those three, florida, ohio or virginia, two of those three, then president obama would make it over 270 and wouldn't need
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some of these other western states or any of the smaller, more competitive states. so that's why they're spending so much money in those three states because that's where everyone starts with this map. >> then you have the president going small. what's that? >> so there's the possibility of president obama actually winning without ohio, florida, or virginia, and the way he would do that is if he holds all of those carry states from 2004 and adds new mexico, then wins nevada, colorado and iowa, which are very possible because of hispanics in the west, obama could win nevada and colorado. and then hold iowa, maybe lose ohio, lose virginia, lose florida, could do all of those and still narrowly win. >> okay. let's go to mitt romney. what he needs to get to 270 in the big way. >> so the obvious one for mitt romney is to sweep the big three. if he sweeps 40i, virginia and florida, it's all three of those, he could lose colorado, lose nevada, lose new hampshire,
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lose wisconsin, lose all of those states, and he would still win, he would get there very narrowly but he would be over 270. >> okay. so you get flohva from mitt romney. but you also have a scenario that he can still win if he takes florida, only. >> yeah. it's a little complicated. but i went back to look and see, can he win with just winning one of those or just two of those three? no question, he could win with two of those three. but if he were to win with just florida, for example, he would have to do it by sweeping the west, nevada, and colorado, also take his state of new hampshire, where he owns a home, and win wisconsin, which paul ryan is on the ticket. a narrow path, but possible. >> okay. finally, there's that dreaded electoral college tie. do we all just duck and run for cover if that happens? >> yeah, i think so. i think that, you know, i've explained to some people that if you want to know what, you know, maybe hell looks like it's this
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election continued without an election day, and with a tie, we would be stuck looking at this thing through january, because of where we'd go to the house. and it's possible, very possible. because if you look at the 2004 map, with john kerry winning, you know, potentially -- or let's say obama wins ohio. put that on top of, on top of kerry's state. give obama new mexico where he's favored but romney wins florida. romney wins virginia. romney wins nevada. romney wins colorado. obama holds wisconsin. holds new hampshire. we are stuck at 269-269. in 2004, if john kerry hadn't won ohio, this wouldn't be a tie, john kerry would have won because the differences that ohio lost two electoral votes from 2004 from 20 to 18 and we'd be stuck at 269-269. and the election continues. >> i love your political wonkiness. can i just say thank you for bringing it to the show.
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i appreciate it. >> thanks, alex. vice president biden and paul ryan profess a faith that came up in thursday's debate. martha raddatz acknowledged the historic nature of the occasion. >> this debate is indeed historic. we have two catholic candidates. first time on a stage such as this. >> now raddatz went on to ask how their catholic beliefs influence their political views on abortion. it is an issue of importance to women and catholics the latter compromising about a quarter of voters. a new pew research study highlights a key swing vote, white moderate catholic, socially liberal but conservative about the government's role. the key here is half of these catholic moderates are now leaning democrat. 39% gop. but pew says their numbers are declining, with moderates representing 42% of catholic voters in 2000, and in 2008, 32%. and a new pew hispanic center poll shows president
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obama with a commanding lead among latinos. 69% of the poll giving the nod to the president. 21% to mitt romney. however pew says the 77% of latinos who say they're absolutely certain to vote is less than all other registered voters. and the issue for most among latinos,age indication, followed by jobs and the che. in this week's office politics we talk to the stars of our morning crew. joe scarborough and mika brzezinski and you won't be surprised to hear joe make a case for mitt romney or mika thinks romney is a goober. but following the governor's strong first presidential debate performance you might be surprised by joe's assessment of barack obama's chances in the second one. >> i think if he holds his own, i think the economy's improving, the right track/wrong track direction is improving. the way this state by state polls show, americans think the economy is starting to improve the economy is slowly starting to get better. i think that breaks the president's way. i think if he holds his own in
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the next two debates, i think it's going to be very close, but he's got a better than 50% chance of eking it out. it's going to be harder for him to be more aggressive in a town hall setting. you remember back in 2000, when al gore said he was going to be tough on george w. bush. he walked over, and bush made the audience laugh. so they're going to have to be a lot more charming. which is going to be difficult for the president, who's hearing from his base. you've got to be tough on this guy. you've got to call him a liar. you've got to punch his lights out. but i think -- i think the president's going to be ready. >> do you think the obama camp has been effective at trying to prove mitt romney at being dishonest? >> no. that's just nonsense. we lost so he's a liar. you know, if mitt romney was wlieing so much, for 90 minutes, why couldn't the president call him out? >> well, that's you making that statement. but the general population, i mean, how does mitt romney try to deflect that criticism for anyone upon whom it might stick? >> i don't know. but again, if i'm sitting here
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in an interview and you ask me basic questions about what job have you been doing for the past four years and i lie about it and say, alex on saturday mornings, actually instead of working, a lot of times, she's just drinking out on 6th avenue. >> well -- >> well, that actually is true. let me try -- >> just during the commercial breaks. >> that's disturbing that you know. >> that you were like in the south of france. >> let's move on -- >> you would be able to answer that question. so most americans just don't buy it. somebody lied about my job that i was doing for the past four years for 90 minutes, and i wasn't able to respond to it, that says as much about me as it does about the other guy. >> do either of you think if barack obama loses this election, it will all have begun at the debate? look where the numbers were before that. >> right. >> i don't know. we're too into it and if i'm too close to it, given my family connections and my own personal ideology. but it feels like the debate was a turning point. that he needs to grab back.
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it could be the echo chamber out there in america. >> i don't think so, though. >> you don't? >> these polls would have tightened -- >> no, no, no. >> if mitt romney wins -- >> if mitt romney wins, you can at least say this of the first debate. it stopped the hemorrhaging. if he doesn't end up winning the election for him, at least it keeps the race competitive for another 24 days, which is great for us. >> you know what's interesting to me is i watched mitt romney, and i felt like he was extremely comfortable in that debate. >> he was. for the first i'm. >> why is it that it's the first time? >> you tell me. >> what are his advisers telling him? >> i think mitt romney is so calculating, and he's such a driven guy, i think he's always being safe. and i think he understood his advisers told him and i think we saw the real romney. >> you, look, you've said this all along, he's a terrible, terrible politician. >> horrible. >> horrible. the most awkward person i've ever seen, in person, and on
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stage. he's awkward even in person on the campaign trail. we've met him many times on his own. he's like awkward in a goober nice way. like a goober. he's a nice guy. he's a goober. >> we like him an awful lot. >> he's a goober. in a good way. but he doesn't sell it like some, you know, he's not -- >> he's got his political cap on he's uncomfortable. you talk to anybody who's worked with him in business, goober is not the word that's come to mind. they say he's a great leader. i think the white house underestimated the guy that breezed through harvard and was a great success there. that revolutionized wall street. even steve ratter in a liberal democrat says what he did at bain capital was extraordinary. he changed. he changed the wall street model. and you look at what he did as governor of massachusetts. bipartisan governor, and a democratic legislature that's 80% democratic, he saved the winter olympics in 2002. he's got five incredible boys. he's got a wonderful wife that
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he met in high school, that still loves him and adores him. this guy -- >> is impressive. >> pretty remarkable human being. >> coming up at noon eastern we're going to get the morning joe take on the impending fiscal cliff and whether or not the nation is destined to fall off of it. in a moment, an incredible connection to the election between football and the ballot box. why president obama's hopes for re-election could be determined by a game between ohio state, and his home state, university of illinois. with the spark cash card from capital one, olaf's pizza palace gets the most rewards of any small business credit card! pizza!!!!! [ garth ] olaf's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! helium delivery. put it on my spark card! [ pop! ] [ garth ] why settle for less? great businesses deserve the most rewards! awesome!!! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back
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before election day and how many shark attacks there've been off the sunshine state's beaches. joining me is reuters correspondent andy sullivan, who wrote this very interesting article, andy with a welcome and good morning to you. i know winston churchill said that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. your article really makes me think that he had a point there and i have to say i was somewhat depressed reading your article. >> yeah. it's not the most uplifting set of findings here. i mean, we like to think that what voters do is they examine the issues, they figure out where they stand on, you know, gay marriage, taxes and medicare and then they figure out which candidate best reflects their views. but that appears not to be the case. in fact, gabriel lenz at the university of california berkeley told me that it's often the other way around. voters will pick a candidate, and then they'll sort of line up their own views to line up with that candidate's views. >> isn't that interesting? can we talk specifically about football and sharks. how exactly do they affect the election? >> yeah. well that gets to this notion
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that, you remember ronald reagan famously asked are you better off now than you were four years ago. and the idea that voters are supposed to view the election as a referendum on the incumbent. and there's a substantial amount of evidence that shows that this is, in fact, what they do do. but, they're not very good at looking over the old, you know, the whole four years of an incumbent's term. if they're looking at the economy, they tend to base their decision on the last six months or a year. so this may actually play into obama's favor, because, while the economy's been pretty terrible over the past four years it's growing a little bit now. you know, you've got gdp growth at like 2%. and that could be enough just to give him a narrow victory. but a lot of voters hold incumbents accountable for stuff they have no control over. whether it's the weather, or things like completely random events like shark attacks or football games. >> when you talk about what happened to woodrow wilson. all the shark attacks off new jersey in his election and people thought it was his fault, when you write a true definition
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of a natural disaster. >> there's a spate of shark attacks off the coast of new jersey. people get all freaked out and everybody cancels their hotel reservations and said we're that going to the beach this summer because we'll get chewed up by a shark. so there's a bit of a recession there and the federal government, could the federal government help? and woodrow wilson called a cabinet meeting together and said no we really can't do much about shark attacks. and when the election came around that fall wilson did eight points worse in those beach towns that were affected by the shark attacks than in the rest of new jersey. >> okay and football games, literally, if your team is winning, a small town team, you had something like a 1.6% uptick in vote for the incumbent because they feel like, hey, everything's going well. that can make a big difference in places where like ohio state football, places like that gators football, in florida. right? >> right. and i think what these studies show, what the people were trying to do is separate things like the economy, and foreign
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affairs. you know, stuff that a president can control from things that they have no control over. and they find that like a lot of voters, if they're feeling pretty good, because the local team won, or if they're not getting chewed up by a shark, then they're more likely to stick with the incumbent than vote for the other guy. >> here's another thing that i did. you cited this new pew center study on election knowledge and some of the numbers here are pretty startling. only 39% of registered voters know that john roberts is the supreme court chief justice. 40% know republicans control the house. 60% know mitt romney was governor of massachusetts. 85% know that joe biden is the vice president. so my question for you, andy, who are these 15% registered voters who do not know the name of the vice president? >> well, these are the people who are going to decide the election, of course. the people who know the least about politics obviously don't follow it very closely and they tend not to have fully formed views. these are people who are known as end pend voters and swing voters. the people who really follow politics closely, have already made up their minds and decided
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whether they're going to vote for obama or romney. but there's a flip side to this. that's voters with very strong partisan views tend to know a lot but filter things through their own -- they tend to find information that reinforces their pre-existing point of view. and so they know stuff but often what they know is wrong. like this is why you still see a number of republicans who believe that obama was born abroad. even though he's released his birth certificate. or ten years ago you had a lot of democrats saying george bush knew about the 9/11 attacks before they happened. which he clearly didn't. >> yeah, it's a fascinating article. if i could give out a must-read i'd say this is the one to read. andy sullivan, thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> the early vote is on. but how many have already cast a ballot and how many are likely before november 6th some answers from the foremost expert on early voting next on "weekends with alex witt." ♪ [ male announcer ] why do more emergency workers everywhere trust duracell...?? duralock power preserve. locks in power for up to 10 years in storage.
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24 days to go until the
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presidential election. the early votes are streaming in. in fact, nearly 850,000 americans have already cast their votes, either in the booth or through absentee ballots. some of the key swing states, florida, ohio, virginia, north carolina. joining me is the man behind that data. michael mcdonald. he's at george mason university. also ahead of the united states elections project. nice of you to join us, michael. thanks for being here. >> good to be talking with you about early voting early in the morning. >> very good. i'd like to know who is the early average absentee voter? what's their description? what's their profile? >> at this stage in the game, it's somewhere who's already made up their mind. playing off of what andy sullivan was talking about, those high information voters. somebody who knows the name of the chief justice of the supreme court. these are people who have already decided who they're going to vote for, they know a lot about the candidates, they're comfortable with casting their ballot. >> can you give a party which is more likely to vote early?
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>> typically the sorts of high information voters we're talking about look like republicans, however, in 2008 we know that obama won the early vote by a large margin and so far this election it looks as though why we don't have a re-creation of the 2008 early vote electorate, it's still looking like an electorate that's more democratic than republican in the nature. >> we have north carolina where about 46,000 people have voted early. of those, 54.2% were registered republicans. so backing up what you're saying here. 27.4% registered democrats. in iowa, over 200,000 people have voted. 53% democrats, 27.8% republicans. >> in north carolina what's going on is we haven't entered the in person early voting period where more than 80% of the votes will be -- early votes will be cast in the state of north carolina. so at this point it's more absentee voters. it's people voting by mail, who
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are in a situation that forces them to vote by mail. people who are traveling on business, the military, overseas voters. those are the people voting right now. at this point the electorate looks very republican because in a state like north carolina those are the people who vote by mail. when you get to a state like iowa though, for example, where we see a much different sort of electorate, there the patterns are much different. it's really a state-by-state variation that we see in the pa interprets of early voting. in iowa the democrats traditionally have had a strong early vote organization. even in 2004 kerry won the early vote in iowa much to the chagrin of the campaign. they wanted to win the election day votes too. this is a pattern that we have seen in iowa before. when we look at these numbers in iowa, i think they're the most interesting of all the states. we've had 200,000 people vote in iowa. i mean, that's a lot of people.
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>> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> so these numbers look a lot like the 2008 electorate so far. they're getting a little bit better for romney day by day, but he's got to have these numbers shift quite dramatically if he's going to win iowa. it could be iowa will be one of the first states the romney campaign has to make a decision if they're going to stay in the state. >> i'm curious, michael. can you see a palpable effect on how early voting affects the way the candidates campaign? >> oh, absolutely. in fact, we have a good example of that earlier this week at ohio state where obama was giving a speech. they had buses set up to bus the students over to the in person early voting centers in franklin county. and you could see that the number of early votes increased dramatically in franklin county the day that they were doing this activity. in fact, more people have already voted in franklin county than all of north carolina.
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so certainly if you look state by state there's quite a bit of variation. and the campaigns can take advantage of this to their advantage. >> it is very interesting talking with you, michael mcdonald. come back and see us again. thank you. >> thank you. that's a wrap of this hour with "weekends with alex witt." be sure to join me with a two-hour edition of this show. straight ahead we have up with chris hayes all to come on msnbc. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
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Weekends With Alex Witt
MSNBCW October 13, 2012 4:00am-5:00am PDT

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Florida 13, Paul Ryan 11, Obama 10, Ohio 10, Iowa 10, Joe Biden 9, Virginia 9, Romney 9, Colorado 6, Biden 5, North Carolina 5, Alex Witt 5, Nevada 5, Marie Callender 4, Wisconsin 4, Alex 4, Citi 3, John Kerry 3, Michael 3, Andy Sullivan 3
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